Dave Whyte



Hire an American! Economic Tyranny and Corruption in Iraq

This article explores the significance of an emerging global anti-corruption industry to the hegemonic ordering of the global economy. To illustrate the centrality of anti-corruption strategies to the emerging global economic order, this article develops a case study of counter-corruption rhetoric and practice in Iraq. The occupiers’ anti-corruption narratives in Iraq, unswervingly centering upon Saddam’s corruption, have provided a source of justification for the neoliberal transformation and corporate colonization of the economy. Those narratives equate Saddam Hussein’s corruption and tyranny with the principle of state ownership and therefore provide a legitimating narrative for a coerced program of privatization and foreign ownership. Anti-corruption rhetoric and practice in Iraq has reinforced two neoliberal myths: first, the idea that the causes of corruption can be attributed to the public sector, rather than the “free market”; and second, that corruption stems from cultural backwardness and an innate tendency toward corruption among government and business elites in Iraq.

corruption, war on terror, Iraq, neoliberalism

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, No. 2 (2007): 153-168